My autistic neurology means that I am not good at picking up typical social cues, understanding complex social situations, automatically picking up meanings of idioms, or understanding the hidden curriculum that most others automatically pick up (Endow 2012). This means I often look naïve and gullible. The fact is I AM naïve and gullible when I try to use the social constructs of neuromajority folks to navigate the world around me.
Each individual who has an autism spectrum diagnosis got that diagnosis based on deficits. That isn’t good or bad, but rather, simply the way diagnosing works. Diagnostic deficits are based on the social and expected norms exhibited by the majority of people. Deficits are determined by a significant deviation from this majority norm. And, if you deviate far enough from the norm you get a label. If you have a group of deficits that line up with the autism spectrum disorder label then you get that label.
One of the challenges of autism is sensory system difference. These differences are so prevalent that they are part of the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This difference comes into play because an autistic neurology typically doesn’t automatically regulate sensory information. This can happen in a variety of ways and accounts for the sensory difference variation we see amongst autistic people.
I am a speaking autistic woman. Even so, I rarely have fluid access to my speech. Often times I have in mind something I would like to discuss with a friend so as to get their thoughts and ideas on the topic, but even though I know what I want to discuss the words are not available as speaking words. Oh, I know the words – they are in my head – I just cannot get them to come out of my mouth at will.
Because of my autism I often experience sensory overload. Many times this is painful. I have learned that by keeping my sensory system regulated I can avoid some of the pain. Over time, in the process of becoming more regulated, I have found ways to enjoy my unique sensory system.